Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Liberty Weeps

From "Thoughts on Democracy" at the Wolfsonian Museum, Florida International University, Miami, through December 7. Artists reinterpret Norman Rockwell's "Four Freedoms" in a way that suggests, according to a review in the New York Times, "that trust in American ideals is giving way to fear and uncertainty about how they are exploited.... Many of the artists interviewed said they felt that now was not the time to depict American greatness, as Rockwell did, but rather to caution people about the risks of complacency."  This is the perfect image following the Senate's approval of expansion of federal surveillance powers and legal immunity for phone companies, including AT&T, Verizon and others, that cooperated in the National Security Agency's wiretapping program. The wiretapping took place without a court order, in clear violation of customers' privacy rights. As happens so often with the Bush administration, the Constitution is violated, laws are broken and Congress is called upon to declare that the illegal is now legal. Perhaps the biggest shame of all is the caving of so many Democrats to Bush's spying, interrogation tactics, military tribunals and war spending.

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